This is what happens when you give an 8-month-old baby his very own bowl of berries!
Inspired by guests on the TWIP family podcast, I made the first half of my 365 project into a book, using Blurb. The quality was excellent except for a small white line (some sort of printing error?) in the same place on every left-hand page. When I contacted Blurb, their customer service was very responsive. They immediately printed another copy and sent it via expedited shipping.
So, now we have a copy for me to keep on my shelf and a copy for the children to put their paws all over — which is really the point after all!
It’s Monday morning, and Ellen and I are assembling our neighbor’s garden share. The dwindling strawberries are small and sweet. I fill a quart and Ellen fills her tummy.
Together, we meander into the side garden and I snap off just a few remaining garlic scapes and collect a handful of chamomile flowers for tea. Ellen picks the first of the kale. Kale! My favorite! We have cilantro in abundance, radishes, and three varieties of choi.
And then we go out with a vase and clippers, to collect flowers. Gathering the garden share is one of my favorite weekly rituals.
(Jenny and I have talked about photos that are “just gifts.” This is one of those.)
I am at the library, in the photography section, attempting to look at books while wrangling my crawling, pulling-up, grabbing, busy little 8-month-old boy. A volunteer librarian is helping me. Well, she is trying to help me. I am listening with half an ear as she points out various books and I hold my baby and remember where my girls are too. Did I leave them in the children’s section? I look over my shoulder and there is Ellen sitting in the widow, looking at a book she picked out, titled, “The Tiny Little Baby.” She is beautiful: framed in light, deep in concentration.
I grab my bag, pull it towards me, and reach for my camera. I fumble around, adjusting my ISO, my aperture, my shutter speed — with camera in one hand, wiggling baby in the other. I can barely hear the librarian, now pointing out nature photography books, a couple of aisles away. I click the shutter once, twice. Three times and Wallace starts wailing. The camera goes back in my bag. I scoop him up and follow the sound of the still chattering librarian. “Are you looking for ‘how to’ photography books or ‘photography as art’ books?” she asks me, apparently oblivious to the photographic feat just accomplished behind her back, a mere six feet away.
“Hmm . . . ” I reply, smiling to myself as I gather my children and head for the door. “Thank you for your help. We’ll come back soon — when I have a little more time to browse.”
On the beach tonight, I am watching them.
All four of them in their own worlds — coming together to show a rock, ask a question.
Then parting ways again, each beckoned back into the stillness
and constant motion of the lake.
Everything gets washed away here.
Petoskey stones scattered on the shoreline last summer —
are now under water.
The coral pattern makes them easier to spot when wet.
Who is it that speaks so eloquently about thresholds?
A threshold is a place where we stop the conversation
and become something new.
Maybe this is why we are so drawn to the beach?
When we need to step over a threshold:
that edge —
that becoming something new — we come to the big lake.
Here we can look out into the future,
and feel ourselves willing to be changed by it.
Willing to enter into the unknown blue.
I am walking with Amabel in the morning, before breakfast. Ellen likes to sleep in; and we like to go out early and greet the day.
First we let the chickens out. We extract a couple of broody hens from the egg boxes and dump the bucket of kitchen scraps. Then we walk along the edge of the driveway and watch a killdeer mother and two babies. Another killdeer appears and pretends her wing is injured — hopping and trying to lead us away from her nest. But we do not follow her. We turn right onto our favorite trail, picking wildflowers as we go.
It is different without Harry. We both notice his absence. He doesn’t bark at the chickens and tease the neighbor’s dogs. He doesn’t bound back and forth between us, encouraging us along. He doesn’t wag his tail and look at us with laughing eyes. We talk about him. It helps.
Amabel collects flowers and notices a patch of delicate fern-like moss covered in drops of dew. We see a vine overhead, hanging on a dead tree. Then she shows me a fairy house she and Ellen built in an old stump. We pick a goat’s beard puff for Wallace to clutch in his little fist.
Later that evening, when the moon is rising, I will think back on our morning walk and realize that this time together framed our whole day.